Racial Segregation in Law

A discussion of the history of racial segregation laws in the United States.

This paper examines two famous legal cases that involved racial segregation in the United States:the 1896 case of “Plessy vs. Ferguson”, for the ending of racial segregation in public train cars; and “Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas” (1954), for racial inclusion in public schools. It shows how these cases set the precedents for ending of racial segregation de jure, but it took society longer to implement this de facto.
“Racial segregation remains one of the most fundamentally perplexing questions within the body of American history. Many people erroneously believe that the racial and social structures that existed prior to the close of the civil war in 1865 resulted in both fundamental and rapid changes for those who had been subjugated by slavery, immigration and even war. The truth is far more complicated and changes were much more gradual. The reality of segregation was both social, legal and economic and to some degree still exists today, in a de jure manner. ?Although de jure segregation in the United States is most commonly associated with the South, segregation could be found at one time or another in every section of the country.? (Finkelman, 2003) (“South, The ” Columbia Encyclopedia, 2000) Though the fundamental struggle of the civil rights movements has largely forced the eradication of de facto, or legal segregation de jure, or mostly social traditional segregation is still evident.”